Are trailer shapes patented? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2009, 03:20 PM   #1
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I read one of the Oliver trailer brothers owned a Casita before they made the Oliver. Does anyone know if Oliver took a Casita and made their Oliver mold out of it? The exterior shape sure looks exactly alike to my untrained eye. I was wondering if there was any type of patent infringement on cloning a trailer shape. The threads about burro possibly coming back and the molds down in Mexico had me curious. Can’t anyone take a burro and make a master mold out of it and start their own company. Burro seems to have such a big fan base, I was wondering why nobody has tried this before. That or one of the other neat 50’s looking fiberglass trailers from the past?
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Old 09-30-2009, 05:14 PM   #2
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Good question but I suspect that any likeness to the Casita is overshadowed by the improvements that Oliver made in their design.
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Old 09-30-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
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I've wondered about this too.

Take the Boler/clones for example. First you had the various different factories making Bolers, but then later on, many of those same factories went on to make "their own" trailers that were basically exactly the same (Scamp, Love Bug, El Macho, etc.).

Did some or all of these companies have official arrangements with Boler? Would it even have been necessary?

And what about the ones like the Trail Mite, who made slightly more significant changes (e.g. different belly joint, completely different roof profile); or Casita (enclosed bottom).

It would be interesting to know more about it.

Raya
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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I am not a lawyer.. so this is in no way legal opinion..at least on my part.

I have firsthand knowledge and experience with shape trademarks via my past employer, Fender Musical Instruments. They lost a bigtime lawsuit brought on by many big name guitar manufacturers against Fender for trying to trademark the body shape of Stratocasters and Telecasters. Because they didn't bother with doing so 50 years ago when the instruments were designed, the courts said you can't jump in and start complaining that the shape is duplicated by other manufacturers NOW.

Linky to brief summary

from the judges notes explaining the ruling

Quote:
In fact, in the case of the [Stratocaster] body outline, this configuration is so common that it is depicted as a generic electric guitar in a dictionary.
Trying to fight this cost Fender millions. It's like passively letting someone play with your molds for decades then all of a sudden deciding they want royalties on everything you've sold to date.

I suspect trying to trademark the shape of any eggstyle (Scamp, Casita, Boler.. roundy ones) camper right now would result in the same decision. Too late.
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:45 AM   #5
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I read one of the Oliver trailer brothers owned a Casita before they made the Oliver. Does anyone know if Oliver took a Casita and made their Oliver mold out of it? The exterior shape sure looks exactly alike to my untrained eye. I was wondering if there was any type of patent infringement on cloning a trailer shape. The threads about burro possibly coming back and the molds down in Mexico had me curious. Can't anyone take a burro and make a master mold out of it and start their own company. Burro seems to have such a big fan base, I was wondering why nobody has tried this before. That or one of the other neat 50's looking fiberglass trailers from the past?
There are patents for trailer shapes. For example the Amerigo trailer. I have attached a picture of the patent. I don't think the Burro shape was never patented.
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IMG_1100.JPG  
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:23 PM   #6
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After having spent a good deal of time at the Oliver factory, talking with the family and lots of time investigating the Casita - I feel very sure in saying that Oliver did not make a mold of a Casita. Some of the evidence:

- The boneyard of empty shells behind the factory of their initial tries from their hand carved mold attempts. The 17' Oliver mold was hand carved by trial and error. The 21', they actually had it CAD designed.
- The Oliver is a double hull construction, and the Casita is a single hull. The entire interior of the Oliver is molded, where as the interior of the Casita is riveted on.
- While at a quick glance they look quite similar, there are lots and lots of differences that you would see from comparing them side by side - from tank placement/size, connectors, wheel wells, propane tanks, battery compartment, etc.


There is no doubt however that Oliver family was directly inspired by their years of Casita camping.

- Cherie
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:24 PM   #7
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Well if the shape was a patent issue, wouldn't chicken's have something to say about it?
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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That Stewart Gardner's name is on the patent should come as no surprise. He was the wheeler/dealer/dare I say scammer/of the RV building world from the late 40's until he passed the company to his son, Stewart Jr. in the late 80's. But he does get credit for the Royal-Lite trailer and the Sunrader molded fiberglass campers and motorhomes.
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